Protein is the major building block of your skin, hormones, and organs. Eating protein would ensure that your body’s tissue is in proper shape and are well functional. Increasing your protein intake is a way to lose weight and belly fat, while still improving on strength levels.
Consuming diets that are high in protein would help fight diabetes and also reduce your blood pressure.
Types of Protein
We have about three types of protein foods, they include:
- Complete Proteins
These are foods that have all the required amino acids, and they are mostly found in animal foods, like eggs, dairy, and meat.
- Incomplete Proteins
These are foods that at least contain one essential amino acid, so there isn’t a balance in proteins. Incomplete proteins occur in plant foods such as grains, peas, and beans.
- Complementary Proteins
This refers to the combination of two or more foods that contain incomplete proteins. Examples of complementary proteins include peanut butter and bread.
What Do Proteins Do?
Proteins partake in almost every biological process, and their functions are different in the body. The main role of protein in the body is to build and replace old tissues. It works on tissues such as;
- Enzymes like amylase
- Hormonal like insulin
- Carriers, like hemoglobin
- Structural like collagen
All of these listed above are proteins. Most of the enzymes in the body are proteins and help to accelerate the chemical reactions and this is important for respiration.
Sources of Proteins
Protein is one of the most important nutrients in any diet, but not every protein that goes into our body converts to protein.
When you eat foods that have amino acids, it causes your body to synthesize the proteins. But, if you don’t take certain types of amino acids, your body would not have enough proteins to synthesize to function properly.
Protein deficiency occurs when you do not take as much protein as you should. Experts recommend that 35% of your daily calorie should come from protein. A deficiency in protein can arise due to certain health conditions like:
- Late stages of cancer
- Eating disorders
- Difficulty in absorbing nutrients
- Certain genetic disorders
Protein deficiency can cause weak muscle tone, thin and brittle hair, skin lesions, edema, and loss of muscle mass.
Protein and Calories
Protein adds to your calorie intake, and one gram of protein is equal to 4 calories.
On average, you should get about 16% of your daily calories from protein, whether it is gotten from plants or animals.
Protein and Weight Loss
Some experts believe that eating too much protein can help you lose weight. When you strictly follow a particular high-protein diet, you may lose extra pounds, but you need to put in more work for it to yield results effectively.
Adding protein to your already existing diet will not likely result in any weight loss result, but replacing fats and sugary foods with protein can give you the result you want. But cutting out your high-fiber foods to replace it with protein foods might hurt your health.
Before making such drastic changes to your diet, you should speak to your doctor and be sure it’s safe for you to do so.
Protein Shakes and Foods
Eating the right amount of protein would help improve your muscle strength and make it faster for you to achieve a lean and built physique. However, how fast you would see these results is depending on your food intake and activity levels. So, finding the right balance between those two factors is all you need.
For bodybuilders and athletes, they need to take a higher amount of protein than the minimum, because their body would require more protein to build and repair tissues and muscles.
However, you should be careful about your protein intake because certain studies have shown that too much protein can increase your risk of developing kidney problems.
Tips for Eating Protein
It’s normal for you to get the right amount of protein if you eat healthily and in variations.
When you are advised to increase your protein intake, it doesn’t mean you should munch on as much steak as you can find. Other options would ensure that you are taking the right amount of protein.
Let’s look at some suggestions;
- Eat low-fat meat and try as much as you can to trim off the fat from the meat. Do not go for unprocessed meats no matter how small, because they contain sodium.
- Use cooking methods like grilling because it doesn’t add extra fat.
- Diverse your protein intake; there are a variety of options, including beans, tofu, seeds, meat, fish, and so on.